Joan Crawford (March 23, 1904 – May 10, 1977), born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American dancer and stage chorine, who later became a noted, Oscar-winning film and television actress.
Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting as a chorine (a chorus girl) on Broadway, Crawford signed a motion picture contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Crawford began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s. In the 1930s, Crawford's fame rivaled, and later outlasted, MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and success. These "rags-to-riches" stories were well received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1930s she was labeled "Box Office Poison". But her career gradually improved in the early 1940s, and she made a major comeback in 1945 by starring in Mildred Pierce, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.